First things first. Tonight’s title is not mine, but comes from Preston Salisbury in the Gameday, where they were very much rocking the gallows humor. Here is the comment in its entirety:
So, yeah. this one was grim pretty much from the start, though I was initially hopeful. Madison Bumgarner took the mound from the D-Backs, and it only took him two pitches to get past the first two batters. George Springer grounded out to Eduardo Escobar at third, and then Jose Altuve went down and sent MadBum’s second pitch about fifteen rows up in the left field seats. It wasn’t a bad pitch, per se—89mph fastball at the bottom of the zone. Bumgarner gave up another hit in the third, I think, to Alex Bregman on pretty much the same pitch in the same location, and all Bregman managed to do was golf it into shallow left for a single. But anyway. Anyway. Bumgarner closed out his half of the first by inducing a Bregman pop foul to third and then a three-pitch K (one of only two strikeouts he recorded tonight). He got through the first while throwing only nine pitches, which I thought was a good sign. 1-0 Astros
Sadly, that was very much the outlier for Bumgarner. He gave up another solo homer to begin the top of the 2nd, this one to Carlos Correa. And this one wasn’t good hitting on a decent pitch—it was a meatball sitting there in the middle of the strike zone, and Correa launched it. One out later, Bumgarner loaded the bases by hitting two Astros batters and giving up a single sandwiched between them. Clearly he was even less right than he’s been in his first two starts. George Springer drove in a second run with a sacrifice fly to Starling Marte in center, and ended the burgeoning mess by fielding an Altuve comebacker and throwing cleanly to Christian Walker at first. 3-0 Astros
Bumgarner then pitched around traffic—two singles in the 3rd, and a walk in the 4th, but kept the Astros from doing further damage.
You may notice that, at this point in the recap, I haven’t mentioned the Diamondbacks’ offense at all. Yeah, well. About that. So through three innings, despite that 9-pitch first, Bumgarner had gotten his pitch count up to 54 pitches. The Astros’ starter, Christian Javier entered the bottom of the 4th having thrown only 32, despite the fact that his control seemed to be very iffy at best. David Peralta managed a two-out infield single in the 2nd, a slow dribbler to third that Bregman tried and failed to barehand, but that was it. Through the first three innings, no Diamondback hitter managed to see more than four pitches in an at-bat. That’s really not plate discipline, people. Come on.
Anyhow. On to the fourth. Kole Calhoun led off the inning with a hard-hit double down the right field line, which assuaged my concerns that this would wind up being my first recap in some time that wouldn’t include a video highlight. It wasn’t the prettiest swing, but it did the business:
Starling Marte then fouled out to right, on the third pitch of his at-bat, which was disappointing. Christian Walker, though, had apparently figured out that, if the pitcher isn’t throwing strikes, you don’t need to swing. He saw six pitches, drew a one-out walk, and all of a sudden the potential tying run was coming to the plate! That was Eduardo Escobar, who has been disappointing so far to say the least. But, and this is one of the small bright spots in this game, EE took a page out of Walker’s book, refused to swing at pitches out of the zone, and got the count to 3-1. Javier was forced to throw him a strike, and he turned on it, shooting a hard grounder into right for a single. A dinger would have been nice, but the AB itself was as close to Escobar looking like himself as I’ve seen, I think, all year:
Sadly, David Peralta then ended our first hope of a crooked number in awhile by grounding into a 4-6-3 double play. Still. Runs are nice! 3-1 Astros
Then the top of the 5th happened. Bumgarner, who’d been sailing very close to the wind through the first four innings, and who frankly has been doing so since his first start, finally broke. After getting Bregman to ground out to Escobar for a quick first out, Astros’ cleanup hitter Yuli Gurriel (who has truly remarkable hair) shot a double right down the left field line. Perhaps because Correa had already gone 2-for-2 with a dinger and a single, the D-Backs chose to give him a free pass, putting runners on first and second with only one out. Bumgarner still nearly managed to wriggle off the hook, making a nice play on a hard-hit comebacker from Astros right fielder Josh Reddick. It had all the makings of an inning-ending double play, but....Bumgarner threw low and wide to Ahmed, who couldn’t make a play, and the ball rolled out into shallow center. That scored Gurriel, giving back the run we’d just scratched out. He then hit DH Abraham Toro for the second time in the game, which loaded the bases. At this point, Stefan Crichton was warming up in a hurry in the bullpen, but Bumgarner still had to face one more batter. He gave up a single to right to Kyle Tucker, the Astros left-fielder, that scored Correa and kept the bases loaded.
Thankfully, that was the end of his night, but Crichton had his first troublesome outing of this young season, surrendering a walk and a double before finally recording the last two outs of the inning. 8-1 Astros
In the bottom of the frame, our boys went back to their initial plate discipline approach, and were retired quietly, aside from a two-out single down the left field line by Nick Ahmed.
And that, to be honest, was pretty much when I stopped keeping score, and paying attention. Taylor Widener took the mound for the top of the 6th, and all of the starting position players were swapped out aside from Daulton Varsho (who started in left), Carson Kelly, David Peralta (tonight’s DH), and Ahmed. The Astros pulled Javier after the 6th, and started giving playing time to garbage-time pitchers out of their bullpen, which allowed the Diamondbacks to score a second run on a bases-loaded walk in the 7th (8-2 Astros), but there really was nothing else to report, aside from Andy Young’s first major league hit, in his first major league at bat, a ringing no-doubt double to left:
Andy Young hits a double in his first career at-bat! pic.twitter.com/mQsreGaqub— FOX Sports Arizona (@FOXSPORTSAZ) August 5, 2020
So, yeah, that was that. Ugh. Anyway.
WIN PROBABILITY ADDED, courtesy of Fangraphs
Candle in the Wind: Eduardo Escobar (+11.5% WPA)
Dim Bulb: Kole Calhoun (+4.7% WPA)
Black Hole of Suck: Madison Bumgarner (-30.7% WPA)
Happily, the roll call seems to be working for me tonight, so props to the 22 hardy souls who suffered through this one together and mustered up 270 comments while doing so. All present and accounted for were: AzDbackfanInDc, AzRattler, ChuckJohnson56, DeadManG, Gore4HOF, GuruB, Jack Sommers, Jim McLennan, JoeCB1991, Makakilo, MrMrrbi, NikT77, Preston Salisbury, Rockkstarr12, Smurf1000, Snake_Bitten, Theolser4, Totally Not Blind Squirrel, but still I apologize, gzimmerm, kilnborn, onedotfive, since_98
DC and Preston led the way, and wound up tied with 31 comments each. Only one comment in Sedona Red, from gzimmerm, which is a fair runner-up and deserves an honorable mention, but I’m actually going to use my editorial license here and double down with Preston for the CoTG, not for the comment shared at the top of the recap, but for this one, which I found to be a lovely and wistful take on gallows humor:
Anyhow. If you’re feeling brave enough, or too giddy and cheerful for your own good, stop back tomorrow, when Robbie Ray takes the mound against Lance McCullers. First pitch is 6:10pm AZ time, just like today’s. Be safe, stay healthy, and as always, thanks for reading. Go D-Backs!